186 HISTORY OF PERSIA CHAP.
two years later, to the powers of Christendom for a joint
attack on the Moslems in the Holy Land ; but the fall
of Acre in 1291 sealed the fate of European domination
in Syria, which, after two centuries of vicissitude, ceased
to exist. As in the case of his predecessor, letters were
exchanged, hopes were excited, and little was actually
John de Monte Corvino.—The leading missionary of
the age was John de Monte Corvino, a Franciscan friar
who was working in the Levant at this period, and who
reported to the Pope his high hopes of the conversion of
Arghun. Consequently he was despatched with many
letters, and, passing through Tabriz, proceeded to distant
China, where he founded a flourishing church.
Gaykhatu, A.H. 690-694 (1291-1295), andEaydu^ A.H.
694 (1295).—Upon the death of Arghun the generals who
had usurped the power sent envoys to Ghazan his son,
to Gaykhatu his brother, and to Baydu his cousin. Their
first decision was to offer the succession to Gaykhatu. A
few days later, however, they regretted their choice and
decided to raise Baydu to the throne, but being prudent
he declined the offer and Gaykhatu was thereupon elected.
He was lavish in his expenditure, and when the treasury
was empty he attempted, in imitation of Khubilay, to
issue bank-notes ; but the measure was so unpopular
that it was speedily cancelled.
The folly of Gaykhatu and his unbridled excesses of
every description alienated the Mongol generals, and
when Baydu, who had been struck and insulted by his
cousin, rebelled, the unhappy monarch was deserted with
sinister suddenness and strangled. Nor was Baydu, his
successor, more fortunate, as he held the throne for less
than a year and was in turn deserted by his generals in
favour of Ghazan, by whose orders he was put to death.
With Baydu ended the period of the heathen Il-Khans.
It is specially noteworthy that, whereas only twelve years
before Ahmad had lost his throne partly, at any rate,
owing to his zeal for Islam, the deposition and death of
Baydu were due mainly to his hostility to that religion
and to his predilection for Christianity,